The Bread of Life
“At this the Jews there began to grumble about Him because He said,
‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’” –John 6:41
It would probably be unfair to blame the Jews too much for being confused when Jesus said He was the bread from heaven, right? I mean, up until this time in history the only story of bread coming down from heaven was the story of Moses, when God supplied daily manna to the Israelites in the wilderness. But that was a long time ago, and this guy, this Jesus, is standing right in front of these Jews, equating Himself with that same supernatural event. I’d probably be perplexed, too!
But in this encounter Jesus is talking about “living bread”—His body, which He will sacrifice one day soon for the same people who are grumbling and complaining about Him. And you can almost hear the frustration in His voice when He calls them out about their behavior and tries once more to explain the good news He’s bringing. To no avail. A few verses later “grumbling” becomes, “The Jews began to argue sharply among themselves” (John 6:52). Later, even Jesus’ disciples consider His words “a hard teaching” (John 6:60).
I’ll forever be grateful that I’m on this side of history, with the triumph of the cross and Jesus’ resurrection counted as a done deal. But I still enjoy, once in a while, thinking about what my response would have been if I lived way back when Jesus’ words filled the air on the far shore of the Sea of Galilee. Would I have grumbled? Would you?